Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation Practice
The Mindfulness of Breathing meditation is a core practice leading to the establishment of mindfulness. Mindfulness of Breathing helps you cultivate a calm, tranquil, concentrated, and stable mind. As the mind becomes more settled, awareness also becomes clearer.
- Practice Time and Frequency: For many people, setting time aside for meditation can be one of the most challenging aspects of practice. We are creatures of habit. Breaking routine and introducing something new requires a generous effort. Try your best to practice the 20 min. guided meditation each day this week. As you develop a routine and realize the benefits of meditation, practice becomes much easier.
- Relaxed Effort. Non-Striving. Bring just enough consistent effort to your practice to fulfill the basic instructions. That’s enough.
- Self-Kindness / Non-Judgment. This practice is simple. However, it is not always easy. Please be kind to yourself. As long as you are practicing with sincerity, you are practicing skillfully. Mindfulness and meditation are cultivated over time. Judging yourself or trying to force your mind to be different is counterproductive.
- Patience. Try to trust the process and approach your practice with patience and ease. Let your practice unfold naturally.
“Mindfulness is the awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally. It’s about knowing what is on your mind.”
- Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Mindfulness: A Brief Overview.
Mindfulness can be likened to the sun, which is able to illuminate whatever it shines upon. It allows us to clearly see what is actually happening in our life, thus, it allows us to experience and know our life more directly and fully.
Mindfulness allows us to connect with life’s precious occurrences, which are too often overlooked. For instance, how reflections of light dance with the movements of water, the comfort we feel from a cool breeze on a hot day, the inner warmth we feel when we are connected with our loved ones, seeing ourself and others unclouded by judgment, insecurity, or blind reactivity.
Again, like the sun, mindfulness has the potential to illuminate everything, without discrimination. It reveals the pleasant as well as the unpleasant. It reveals our joys and our sorrows. It reveals our skillfulness as well as our unskillfulness. Herein lies mindfulness’s subtle, yet profound healing potential.
Mindfulness allows us to wake up to our life. It supports our capacity to see through and beyond our habitual ways of seeing and doing that may be unbeneficial, harmful, or limiting. Mindfulness allows us to respond with greater peace, compassion, and wisdom.
Mindfulness is often described as “remembering”. Remembering who we are and why we are. Remembering to respond to life’s precious moments as if they actually matter - because when we really look, we can see the ways in which they do.
Mindfulness is a Skill, a State, and a Trait.
Mindfulness is a natural capacity that everyone possesses. Just like any innate human potential, mindfulness is a skill, that can be cultivated through practice.
In the beginning, we are required to bring extra effort to awaken the state of mindfulness. It can feel artificial at first. However, as our skillfulness increases, the state of mindfulness increases and begins to spontaneously spill over into our everyday life. In other words, the state of mindfulness grows and becomes a dispositional trait.
As our mindfulness increases, so does our capacity to respond to life circumstances with skillful wisdom and compassion, thus engendering greater health and wellbeing.
Mindfulness and Well-Being
Mindfulness and Well-Being are Skills that we can Cultivate.
Mindfulness is an applied activity; it is important that we remember why we are learning and practicing it.
In essence, we are growing our ability/wisdom to recognize the causes and conditions that promote wellbeing. Additionally, we are cultivating the skills that engender well-being for ourselves and others.
Richard Davidson and other researchers suggest four components of well-being supported by neuroscience. All of which are skills to be cultivated and strengthened.
We will use Richard’s four components of wellbeing as a frame of reference for our class:
- Positive Outlook: Sustained positive emotions and mental outlook are manifestations of well-being and also increase well-being.
- Rebounding from Negative Emotion: How quickly a person recovers from adversity, can result in a person experiencing less negative emotions overall and may even have protective properties against mental health disorders.
- Mindfulness and Mind-Wandering: The ability to maintain present moment attention and intention, prevents the mind from getting lost in unskillful reactivity, negative emotions, and harmful thought patterns.
- Caring for Others: Prosocial qualities such as generosity, empathy, kindness, compassion, and gratitude are found to be components of well-being.
Take some time to honestly reflect on each aspect of well-being as they relate to your life. This is not an invitation to criticize or judge yourself; rather it is an invitation to care for yourself and discover your innate capacity for health and well-being.